Recreational marijuana is now legal in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Washington, D.C., so if you've been curious about what it's like to try cannabis, you can now do so legally. If you're a resident in one of these areas or are planning a trip to visit one of them, you may have questions about the different ways that you can use marijuana. This frequently asked questions guide is designed to help you choose the best method of use to ensure that you have a good experience when you try legal cannabis.
Is Marijuana Smoke Dangerous?
Smoking a marijuana joint isn't all that different from smoking a tobacco cigarette, even though joints you roll yourself don't contain chemical additives like commercially prepared cigarettes. Marijuana smoke still has carbon, impurities, and toxins lurking in it, so it can pose the same risks for coughing, shortness of breath, and other respiratory symptoms. Because marijuana smoke does contain carcinogens, it can also pose a risk for lung cancer. If you only plan to try cannabis once, the risk of long-term health problems due to smoking marijuana is very low; however, the more you smoke, the greater the likelihood of side effects becomes.
Is Vaping Marijuana Healthier than Smoking?
Vaping does not involve combustion like smoking, so when you're using a marijuana vaporizer, you're actually inhaling pure vapor rather than smoke. Whether you're using a dry herb or wax vaporizer, the vapor given off by a vaporizer contains more THC and other active compounds than smoke, and it has a smaller percentage of impurities. Research indicates that there are fewer toxins in vapor as well. Still, it's important to note that some studies have linked vaping with exposure to ammonia, a toxic substance. Generally, public health officials and physicians tend to agree, though, that vaping is less risky than smoking for cannabis users.
Can I Protect Myself from Toxins if I Use a Bong?
A bong or water pipe filters marijuana smoke before you inhale it, which makes the smoke taste smoother and feel cooler. There is no evidence that using one of these devices cuts down on the number of toxins in smoke. The science suggests that it's actually THC that is removed from smoke by water tools and bongs, not impurities.
Is It Safe to Eat or Drink Cannabis?
Foods and beverages that contain marijuana, or marijuana edibles do pose a higher risk for side effects than smoking or vaping. Digesting THC converts the active compound into to a more potent chemical that is more intoxicating than what's found in smoke or vapor. Because your body needs time to digest the marijuana laced foods and beverages, it also takes more time to feel results from using marijuana edibles, which results in some people consuming too much at one time.
Is There Anything Else I Should Know before I Try Cannabis?
Before you use legal marijuana, be sure to check the laws regarding use wherever you are. Each state and territory has its own regulations, so you may not be able to use certain forms of cannabis or may need to confine usage to certain locations to comply with the law.